Cole was not fully aware of the events that had transpired outside in the hall. He heard muted noises that could have been people fighting. He only knew that after Rotation 3 Travis would start a ruckus. Travis told him be dressed and ready to leave. Tonight.
When the door opened and Cole did not see a guard standing on the other side he knew Travis had done it. Cole walked through the door and down the hall. Travis stalked towards Cole covered in blood. Cole could not find words to ask what had happened. Travis turned and nodded. The guard opened the door and they ran.
Lungs and legs burning Cole did not think he could have taken another step if Satan himself came up from Hell and asked for his balls on a platter. He would have asked: Left or Right? “If you’d had told me we had to run a marathon I think I woulda thought this through a bit more.” Cole gulped in more air. “Not that I am not grateful.” Cole was bent over, hands on knees, taking deeps breaths. When he could finally stand he saw that Travis had stripped out of his bloodstained shirt and found a puddle deep enough to rinse it in. “Your nothing but a string bean. Your made for this. I ain’t.” Cole’s hefty frame was big and tall. Muscled. Not a runner’s body that’s for sure. Travis rung out his shirt and hung it from his hip. “Ok. So now what?” Travis had not said a word from the time they had left the facility. Just took hold of Cole’s hand and ran. After a few steps Cole got the idea and followed.
“Why were you there?” Travis asked Cole in a quiet voice. Oh. So it’s this huh? Cole thought before answering.
“I don’t know really.” Cole leaned up against a tree. Travis made his way towards him. In the dark with just the full moon for light. Cole felt foolish but also a little frightened of Travis. They had a single-minded goal and they achieved that. Then the adrenaline rush subsided and Cole began to logically asses their situation. He shuddered. Seeing the blood on Travis made Cole realize he really had no idea what Travis was capable of. Who had Cole let out into the open? God. Cole hoped his indecision was not etched on his face. He would play the buddy. They would help each other. That way he could at least keep an eye on Travis. Up close. Travis was just a couple feet away. The air was chilled from it being the dead of night, but it wasn’t gonna kill the guy if he went without a shirt. “What about you?” Travis looked down at the ground, toeing the dirt. Shrugging his shoulders.
“Experiments. Testing. You name it. I can do things and they wanted to see me in action I guess.” Travis’ stare made Cole inwardly shudder. Travis was so intense. His eyes were almost seemed like they lacked any color. Icy. When any light fell on them they seem to brighten and shimmer. God. Cole must be tired or something. Was that look always there in Travis’ eyes? “I need you.” Huh! Travis was standing so close to Cole that he felt nervous and uneasy. “There are people out there that hurt me. They need to pay. Will you help me?” This skinny pale guy with the ability to escape a secret locked facility, didn’t know a thing about Cole and still wanted his help.
“How do you even know me?”
“I don’t. But I like you.” Travis laughed and turned to walk up the road. “Let me show you something.” Whatever happened Cole decided he was sleeping with one eye open.
“God. Please I cannot keep this up.” Cole did not mean to sound so whiny. He did not feel like myself. He lacked a firm explanation. He was aching and was hungry. Travis had them walking for hours. Well, probably not but Cole was getting tired even more tired. What Cole figured as being “naturally healthy” and not needing the gym to keep fit was a lie. His body screamed to stop but they kept walking. Muscles Cole did not know could ache were throbbing.
“Almost there.” Travis seemed to have a tease in voice. Everything sounded as though he wanted to say more. Weird.
The next curve in the mountain road revealed a shadowed lane. The rental office sign flashed vacancy. They strolled down the lane and were approaching the office when Cole asked. “Why are we here and what are you doing?” Travis did not have is shirt on. He still had bloodstains on his pants and they both looked a little more than suspicious walking in up in what amounted to PJ’s and slippers.
“Watch.” Travis answered. He rang a bell and the door behind the counter opened moments later. A balding man stuck his head out, cigar smoke wafting through the crack in the door. A memory teased the edges of Cole’s memory. The man looked between us and was about to refuse us. Cole just knew it. “We need a room. We don’t have money to pay. But sir. Please be kind. Do you have a spare?” Travis’ voice sounded a little different. Cole felt as though the world was swaying and things were slowing down. The man reached behind him never taking his eyes off Travis, never saying a word. “You will never even know we were here.” Travis turned to me and cocked his head. “See. Easy.” He sounded normal again and the world returned to life.
The room actually turned out to be a cottage. They had a stocked kitchen, phone, TV, fireplace, 2 beds and a full bathroom. “Dibs on the bathroom.” Travis went in and Cole heard running water moments later. Cole heard a door open and turned to see Travis. Steam billowed out of the crack in the door. “See what there is to eat will ya? I am starved.” He shut the door again. Cole still had not found out what happened at the rental office. They had all night.
After Cole has his shower he did not feel like putting back on the same dirty clothes he had tracked through the woods in. Travis found a courtesy robe to fit him but he’s not a giant like Cole. He washed out his clothes and hung them to dry. Cole would have to see what he could do for money and clothes. Cole wrapped the towel around my shoulders and hoped Travis didn’t mind him being in my boxers.
Cole had putting everything on the table and they ate in virtual silence. Travis kept looking at Cole. He did not know what to say really. Cole was thinking about what happened. They finished and tossed the paper papers and put up the leftovers. Grabbing some cookies Cole headed for the TV room. Travis did too.
Cole did not immediately turn on the TV. “I want to know what happened. A condensed version is fine. But I need to know.” Cole turned in the sofa his knee bumped up against the coffee table. Travis had his feet propped up. So instead of pushing the table back Cole sat back. Travis sat with his arms crossed over his stomach and his mouth set in a grim line. He had a far off look in his eyes. Seeing far beyond the TV screen.
“Not sure if I was born like this or made. I can make certain people do things. Vocal hypnosis. I change the pitch in my voice and when I see that glaze in people’s eyes I know I have them.” The far a way look went away. A smile with no real warmth replaced the grimace. “Doesn’t work with you though. Not that I have really tried. Not that I want to. I don’t like making people do things they don’t want to.” Travis looked so lost just then. Cole sort of felt bad for him.
“So the experiments and testing?” Cole asked. If Travis was talking Cole wanted to learn as much as he could. Cole’s turn would come soon enough.
“Not there. Not where we were. It was out there.” He nodded towards the window. “They would give me an order and I would obey. I am not sure what they did to keep me from turning on them. Perhaps I did turn. And they locked me away.” Cole could see a struggle take place. Travis was still locked away. Somewhere inside himself. “I only showed you because I wasn’t doing it to hurt anyone. We needed a room. We didn’t have money. I figure if I have this I am going to use it. To get to them. End them. Once and for all.” Travis exhaled a shuddery breath. “Ok. Enough already. I never talk. Never. So I don’t wanna be crying on your shoulder. You already give me that look.”
“What look?” Cole questioned.
“Oh and that note about not kissing me? What the hell?” Travis tried really hard to look offended.
“Oh come off it Travis. I did not know anything about you and you slip me a note about running away with you? I thought you were joking.” He narrowed his eyes on Cole and then busted out laughing. A true laugh. It came up from somewhere deep within him.
“Should we get into the delicacies of my sexuality? Or would you like something easy like, say, why you were there?” Travis’ questioning look was all the prompting Cole needed. Travis was needling him. He did not seriously think a tease and a wink would make Cole turn tail and run. Cole could care less if he liked him like that. Cole needed help to get out of that place. If he wanted me to help him more. I did not mind a bit. I just did not want to hurt his feelings over any miscommunications. Strictly business. With Cole sitting there in just his boxers.